US aircraft carriers in the Vietnam War


This is an overview of US aircraft carriers serving in the Vietnam war. Carriers were assigned to the western Pacific, and during each cruise spent several periods on “Yankee station” in the gulf of Tonkin. Short periods of rest were in Japan, Hong Kong, or the Philippines. While all carriers are listed as “CV”, they actually were designated CVA, CVB, or CVS during their Vietnam tours.

Essex class

USS Yorktown (CV-10) was the oldest carrier (commissioned in 1943) to serve in the Vietnam war, and did not receive an angled-deck conversion. Deployments to the Tonking Gulf were December 1964 to May 1965, February to July 1966, and March to June 1968. She was employed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and search-and-rescue (SAR) work.
USS Intrepid (CV-11): During its war cruise in the second half of 1966, a Skyraider based on Intrepid shot down a MiG-17. A second Vietnam assignment was during the second half of 1967.
USS Hornet (CV-12) was deployed to waters off Vietnam throughout the summer of 1967.
USS Ticonderoga (CV-14), first of the long-hull Essex class carriers, launched aircraft in response to the attack by North Vietnamese craft, the Tonkin Gulf incident, during its August to December 1964 deployment.  Four more war cruises followed: November 1965 to April 1966, November 1966 to April 1967, January to July 1968, March to July 1969.
USS Hancock (CV-19) was deployed to Vietnam from November 1964 to the spring of 1965, December 1965 to July 1966, the first half of 1967, November 1970 to May 1971, and in spring of 1972. She was present during the evacuation of Saigon in 1975, and possibly had war cruises in 1968 and 1969 as well, but I could not confirm that.
USS Bennington (CV-20) had three Vietnam tours from 1965 to 1968, as ASW carrier, and probably SAR as well.
USS Boxer (CV-21), which was not converted to an angled-deck carrier, was used twice for shipping helicopters to Vietnam, but was not used in battle.
USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) had five war cruises from 1965 to 1970.
USS Kearsarge (CV-33) was deployed to Vietnam from August to December 1964, and August to November 1966, as ASW carrier.
USS Oriskany (CV-34) served off Vietnam May to November 1965, June to October 1966. A parachute flare caused a fire eventually killing 44 crewmembers. Another cruise was from July to January 1967, and at least one more in 1969.
USS Princeton (CV-37) was deployed to Vietnam four times between 1964 and 1967. At that time, she had already been converted to an amphibious assault carrier, LPH-5, carrying only helicopters.
USS Shangri-La (CV-38) had one war cruise, from April to November 1970.
USS Valley Forge (CV-45), converted to an amphibious assault carrier (LPH-8) in 1961, was deployed to Vietnam waters several times from 1964 to 1969, launching Marines assaults.

Midway class

USS Midway (CV-41) March to November 1965. After an extensive modernization, cruises from May 1971 to October 1971, in 1972 and in 1973 followed. Midway was present during Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of Saigon, in 1975.
USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42) was deployed to Vietnam only once, from August 1966 to January 1967.
USS Coral Sea (CV-43) had a total of seven war cruises: February to October 1965, August 1966 to February 1967, August 1967 to March 1968, September 1968 to April 1969, October 1969 to June 1970, November 1971 to July 1972, March to October 1973. She was also present during the evacuation of Saigon.

Forrestal class

USS Forrestal (CV-59) had one Vietnam war cruise, in the summer of 1967. On the 29th of July, a mis-firing Zuni rocket hit an external fuel tank of an A-4. The resulting fire and exploding ammo killed 134 crewmembers. Severely damaged, the Forrestal had to return to the States for repairs.
USS Saratoga (CV-60) was deployed to the western Pacific from May 1972 until the end of the year.
USS Ranger (CV-61) was deployed to the western Pacific a total of eight times: October 1964 to April 1965, January to August 1966, December 1967 to April 1968, October 1968 to May 1969, October 1969 to May 1970, October 1970 to May 1971, November 1972 to July 1973, May to October 1974. She was also present during the Laotian crisis in 1963.
USS Independence (CV-62) had one war cruise, June to November 1965.

Kitty Hawk class

USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) was deployed to the western Pacific from April to June 1964, November 1965 to May 1966, December 1966 to May 1967, December 1967 to June 1968, January to August 1969, November 1970 to June 1971, March 1972 to November 1972. While the 1964 cruise was before the start of hostilities in Vietnam, two aircraft on reconaissance missions over Laos were shot down.
USS Constellation (CV-64) relieved the Kitty Hawk in June 1964 and also flew reconaissance missions above Laos. She launched air strikes in response to the Tonkin Gulf incident and was present until January 1965. Six more war cruises followed: May to November 1966, May to November 1967, June 1968 to January 1969, August 1969 to April 1970, October 1971 to June 1972, January 1973 to September 1973.
USS America (CV-66) had three war cruises: May to October 1968, May to November 1970, July 1972 to February 1973.

Enterprise

USS Enterprise (CVN-65), the only one in its class and the first nuclear carrier. From December 1965 to 1972 (I could not find exact dates), she made six war cruises. On 14 January 1969, an exploding Zuni rocket and subsequent fire claimed 27 lives. She was the first carrier to take on the new F-14 Tomcat in 1974 and was present during the evacuation of Saigon in 1975.

Vietnam: AircraftHelicoptersCarriers